Consultants have been in the MBA admissions business for a long time, and they offer an array of services to prospective students. There are some applicants out there with compelling reasons why you should hire one, and others who will argue that an admissions consultant isn’t worth the money. Applying to business school is expensive and time-consuming enough. Hiring a consultant can add to those expenses, as well as your stress levels.
One of the most common reasons MBA applicants hire MBA Admissions consultants is that they don’t know how to market themselves. Many MBA candidates come from non-business backgrounds and learn about entrepreneurship, consulting, marketing careers, etc. MBA admissions consultants sites offer advice and guidance on the process. They offer expert advice on writing MBA essays, resumes, and creating robust application packages. It makes sense that you would hire a consultant if you are applying to top-tier schools and don’t have the connections or time to get your application noticed.
Who is an MBA Admissions Consultant?
Professional MBA admissions consultants work with applicants providing a service that will significantly improve their business school application. They usually have extensive knowledge of MBA programs and admissions criteria and can assist with all or part of the application process.
They offer advice on selecting courses, extracurricular activities to participate in, recommend target schools, and assist with the essays.
The Pros and Cons
Many things can be said about admission consultants, both good and bad, but choosing to hire one comes down to three questions:
1) Do you need their help?
2) What services do they offer?
3) What is the right price for those services?
The cons include:
1. They Can Be Expensive
Every applicant is different, but a general rule of thumb would be to budget anywhere from 5-15% of your projected tuition cost. The more intense and personalized your consultant’s services, the higher their fees will be. And if you need extensive help on your essays, your fees will also go up. Some have average cost $3,000 to 12,000 USD or more per month. The higher the investment you make in hiring a consultant, the better their services should be.
2. They May Offer Limited Guidance
Many MBA candidates wonder if they need a consultant’s help. Many will offer the same advice as friends and family, for free. Some candidates have been advised that consultants are all hype and have no substance and waste their money by hiring one. Your old friend from high school who now works at a bank may know more about the admissions process than your consultant does. The reality is that they are not miracle workers, nor do they have privileged access to MBA programs’ admissions officers. They can guide you on how to market yourself, but ultimately it will be up to you to present a compelling application.
On the other hand, admissions consultants are crucial in that:
1. They Improve Your Chances of Success
MBA admissions consultants can help by identifying areas for improvement and offering guidance to increase your chances of being accepted into a top MBA program. A good one will carefully review your application to ensure a competitive advantage in each component. They also provide helpful tips to keep your application from falling apart after you hit send. The fact is that a robust MBA application requires a significant investment in time and energy.
2. They Know the MBA Admissions Process
When you hire an admissions consultant, they will use that time to learn about you and your goals. They can then research and present top-tier MBA programs that are the right fit for your personal and professional interests. Many offer free initial consultations to give applicants an overview of what they do and its benefits.
3. They Can Help with Essays
Many MBA applicants worry that their essays will not be good enough to secure an interview or acceptance into a top-tier school. An admissions consultant can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop the right strategy for conveying your best qualities in writing. Some even guarantee their work or offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you do not get accepted.
4. Offering Help to Applicants on Communication Challenges
Communication difficulties are rarely discussed when discussing the needs of MBA applicants. Many, however, struggle with their application essays because they are terrible writers or do not know how to convey information in concise and persuasive ways. If you fall into this category, an admissions consultant can help by offering guidance on how to improve your writing skills or even proofreading your work.
Hiring an MBA admissions consultant has its pros and cons, but one clear benefit is the amount of time it can save you. Given your unique background and goals, it also ensures that your application will be as strong as possible. Consultants are expensive, so make sure to compare their services and credentials before making a final decision.